Like many people, I occasionally have trouble falling asleep. That’s when I reach for a melatonin tablet.
Many people are aware of melatonin’s ability to promote restful sleep with no side effects. But few realize it has other important benefits.
I’d like to give melatonin due credit…
Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces. It’s released in your brain when it gets dark and signals your body that it’s time to relax and become drowsy. Light has the opposite effect. It inhibits melatonin secretion.[i]
Melatonin production falls off as we get older. That’s why so many seniors have insomnia. Melatonin supplements are a real boon to people like these.
Beyond insomnia, melatonin fights diseases…
- Cancer. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center treated prostate cancer cells with melatonin. Many of the cells died. The remaining cells showed signs of becoming non-cancerous.[ii]Another study published in the British Journal of Cancer looked at women with breast cancer. The subjects had failed to respond to the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen. Researchers gave the patients 20 mg of melatonin every evening. Their response to tamoxifen improved.About 28% of the women who had been expected to get worse actually began to receive beneficial results from the chemotherapy. And there were mental health benefits as well. A majority reported anxiety relief.[iii]
- Tinnitus. This condition is characterized by a constant ringing in the ears. For some people, it can be so bad as to seriously detract from their quality of life.A study from The Ohio State University Eye and Ear Institute gathered 61 subjects with chronic tinnitus. Some were given melatonin. Some were given a placebo. The melatonin group had significant relief.[iv]
- Degenerative brain diseases. Melatonin is an antioxidant with an unusual property. It crosses the blood-brain barrier. It can therefore help protect neurological functions.A study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences found that melatonin slows cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. It appears to protect brain cells from beta-amyloid. That’s the toxic protein thought to cause Alzheimer’s.[v]
- Migraines. Researchers at Brazil’s Albert Einstein Hospital recruited 34 migraine sufferers. For three months, they gave them 3 mg of melatonin a half hour before bedtime.More than two-thirds of the subjects cut their number of monthly migraines at least in half. Intensity of pain and the time the headaches lasted were also lessened.[vi]
Melatonin supplements are safe and virtually without side effects. But keep in mind that they can interact with some medications. These include antidepressants and blood thinners.
Melatonin is widely available from online retailers and drugstores.